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Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics: October to December 2023 (2023-24 Quarter 3)

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland


Debt Arrangement Scheme

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a statutory debt management solution administered by AiB. Under the DAS, a debtor commits to a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) which allows them to repay their debts based on their disposable income while they are protected from creditors taking any action against them to recover their debt. If the DPP is approved, all interest, fees and charges on the debt will be frozen and waived if the programme is completed in full.

Approved DAS applications

In 2023-24 Q3, there were 1,481 approved DPPs under the DAS compared with the 1,309 approved in 2022-23 Q3, an increase of 13.1%. Chart 5 shows there has been upward trend in the number of approved DPPs since 2019-20 Q1.

DAS volumes continue to climb, with the most approvals in one quarter since its introduction.

Chart 5: Approved DPPs under DAS Apr-Jun 2015 to Oct-Dec 2023

Chart 5 shows the number of Debt Arrangment Scheme (DAS) Debt Payment Programmes (DPPs) approved between 2015-16 Q1 and 2023-24 Q3. This chart shows that levels of approved DPPs remain higher than prior to the pandemic despite after slight fall in 2022-23 Q3.

The number of approved DPPs under the DAS increased year-on-year between 2006-07 and 2012-13. This is likely due to changes in legislation and improvements to the DAS Administrator’s IT system. More information on legislative changes is included in the background section.

The sharp decrease in the DAS approvals in 2015-16 (from 4,156 to 2,043) was likely due a number of reasons including legislative changes and the availability of DAS from insolvency practitioners. The attractiveness of the DAS relative to other statutory debt solutions could have also been affected by changes to regulatory procedures, operated by the Financial Conduct Authority, in relation to money advisers and insolvency practitioners.

Note that not all applications received by AiB are approved. In the third quarter of 2023-24, 1,469 applications for a DAS DPP were received by AiB. In the same quarter, 8 applications were rejected.

Completed and Revoked DAS cases

A DPP reaches completion when the debt in the DPP has been paid in full, minus the fees paid to the DAS Administrator and the payments distributor. There were 425 DPPs under the DAS completed in 2023-24 Q3, a decrease of 3.4% when compared with 2022-23 Q3.

The volume of DAS completions will depend on activity levels several years earlier with the average expected length of a DPP under DAS being around six years. We can expect a lower but steady volume of completions in line with current applications approved compared with previous completion levels.

A DPP is automatically revoked if either the debtor is made bankrupt, enters a trust deed which becomes protected, or other grounds. There were 409 DPPs under the DAS revoked in 2023-24 Q3, which is 127 (45.0%) more than the figure of 282 in the same quarter in 2022-23.

Amount repaid under the DAS

In 2023-24 Q3, around £12.8 million was repaid from debtors under the DAS compared with the £11.6 million million repaid in 2022-23 Q3. Since the DAS (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019 came into force on 4 November 2019, through DAS, creditors receive a minimum of 78% of the debt owed to them from debtors. This is after DAS Administrator and payments distributor fees. Prior to this, the minimum was set at 90%. After the DAS Administrator and payments distributor fees have been deducted around £10.4 million was paid to creditors in 2023-24 Q3.

Applications to vary a DPP

If a debtor’s circumstances change and they can no longer afford the agreed payments, or if they want to increase the level of payment, they can apply for a variation to their DAS DPP. Variations can also include a change to the length of the DPP or attaching a new condition.

The following type of variations are included in this publication:

  • contribution change
  • debt change
  • discretionary condition
  • essential credit
  • frequency change
  • partial settlement
  • payment break

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019 came into force on 04 November 2019. These Regulations introduced improvements to the DAS to increase the accessibility and sustainability of DPPs and offer greater flexibility. These included short term financial crisis payment break. Money advisers can automatically process a variation to excuse a missed payment if their client has suffered a short term crisis and cannot make their payment. As there is no need for the full variation application, it is an instantaneous process. Money advisers have discretion as to the “crisis” definition and must annotate the application with the reason for approving the variation. Client may have up to 2 months’ worth of crisis break variation approved in any rolling year.

In 2023-24 Q3, a total of 2,684 applications were made to vary a DPP. Of these, 1,137 for crisis payment break were approved under the new regulations, accounting for around 42.4% of the total number of applications to vary a DPP. There were 1,498 approved standard applications to vary a DPP which accounts for 55.8% of the total number, while 1.8% accounts for the number of rejected applications. The number of approved variations was 14.5% of live DAS cases.

Applications to revoke a DPP

A DPP is automatically revoked if the debtor is made bankrupt or enters a trust deed which becomes protected. There are also a number of grounds where the debtor, a money adviser acting on behalf of the debtor or a creditor in the DPP can apply to revoke a DPP, for example:

  • debtors failed to satisfy a standard or discretionary condition
  • debtors made a false statement in their application
  • the debtors failed to make the agreed instalment under the DPP and are currently in arrears of an amount equal to two instalments
  • the conditions for a joint DPP as specified in regulation 22(1) or 22(2) no longer apply

If the DPP is revoked, the debtor may be liable for all interest, fees, penalties and other charges that would have been payable had the DPP not been approved.

Of a total of 817 applications to revoke a DPP, 408 were approved in 2023-24 Q3, 135 (49.5%) more than the figure approved in 2022-23 Q3, and 409 were rejected. Overall, 409 or 2.2% of live DAS cases were revoked during 2023-24 Q3.

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